Belfast Telegraph

New outlets bring 26 jobs to Ballymena shopping centre

By Margaret Canning

More than two dozen new jobs are being created at Ballymena's Fairhill Shopping Centre after three new tenants signed up. Bakery chain Greggs, noodle chain Chopstix and stationery and books retailer The Works have all signed up at the Co Antrim shopping destination, bringing 26 new part-time and full-time posts.

The businesses are joining existing retailers including Next, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, Boots, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and New Look.

Natalie Jackson, Fairhill's marketing and commercial manager, said: "The new tenants are a very welcome addition to our existing stores and highlight our commitment to satisfying the needs of the local community.

"We know our customers like to see named brands in the centre, so we're confident the new additions will be well received."

Michael Pierce, senior retail partner at commercial property agents DTZ, added: "We are delighted to confirm these three lettings as they underline the attraction to retailers of Ballymena and the Fairhill centre.

"We are in detailed discussions with a number of other exciting retailers about the opportunity to have a presence at Fairhill and I am optimistic that we will have some more good news to reveal in the near future".

Fairhill Shopping Centre has been owned by the Rockspring Property Investment Managers' UK Value 2 fund since it snapped it up for £45.6m in September last year. Cordatus Real Estate is the centre's asset manager.

Tower Centre, Ballymena's other main shopping centre, has also changed hands after the town's retail tycoon Sam Morrison acquired it earlier this year.

Mr Morrison, the head of Corbo Ltd, is the former owner of Fairhill. And Mr Morrison has said he will invest in the layout of the centre - currently home to B&M Bargains, Boots, Primark and Dunnes - in order to attract new retailers.

Announcing his plans last month, Mr Morrison said: "We are looking forward to the challenge of returning the centre back to its best. We have allocated a further £10m of expenditure to support the reconfiguration of the shopping centre.

"It's our intention that a new and improved Tower Centre will add to Ballymena's reputation as a vibrant shopping destination with impressive centres, retail and leisure parks which include a mix of independent and multinational retailers."

The Tower Centre first opened in 1981, while Fairhill opened in 1991.

Belfast Telegraph